Catching Up on Coal Ash

Catching Up on Coal Ash

 Above: Alabama Power stores more than 21 million tons of toxic coal ash adjacent to the Mobile River in the heart of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. 

Above: Alabama Power stores more than 21 million tons of toxic coal ash adjacent to the Mobile River in the heart of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. 

With another busy spring season behind us and our biggest fundraising event of the year (The Publix Grandman Triathlon) under our belt, it’s time to bring one of our primary issues back to the topic of conversation - coal ash. For those of you unfamiliar, coal ash is the toxic waste that remains after coal is burned and contains toxic chemicals such as arsenic, mercury, chromium, and lead. Just north of Mobile, more than 21 million tons of this toxic material sits in a 600-acre unlined pond at Alabama Power’s Barry Steam Plant - in the heart of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.

So what? For starters, the pond is unlined (with no barrier to the groundwater) and is therefore polluting the nearby groundwater. Earlier this spring, Alabama Power was fined $1.25 million for groundwater pollution at all six of its power plants across the state, including $250,000 specifically at Plant Barry. Second, it is held together by a dam made of dirt, clay, coal ash - making it prone to collapse from the effects of a hurricane, heavy rain, or structural failure. Additionally, the pond is surrounded by the Mobile River and sensitive wetlands in a low-lying area prone to flooding. But we never have rain, hurricanes, or flooding in Coastal Alabama, right?

Our goal in this campaign is simple - we want Alabama Power to do the right thing and move the coal ash out of the water. In March, we released an in-depth pollution report showing the many reasons why (summarized in the paragraph above) storing this material next to the river is so dangerous. So you don’t want to read the 200+ page report word for word? Don’t worry - you don’t have to!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be breaking each section down piece by piece to show you exactly why this issue is so important and why we need Alabama Power to do the right thing to protect the health of our environment, economy, and community. Stay tuned for more installments to come. 

Learn More

Visit mobilebaykeeper.org/coalash to learn more about this issue. To read the full coal ash pollution report, click on the button below. Fill out the form below to send a pre-drafted letter to Alabama Power or write your own instead. 

Questions? Contact Program Director Cade Kistler at ckistler@mobilebaykeeper.org or call 251-433-4229.